Lori-Ogbebor decries delay in commencement of forensic audit of NDDC
• charges Buhari to take decision that'll protect Niger Delta region
An activist, Chief (Mrs.) Rita Lori- Ogbebor, on Wednesday in Lagos expressed worries that weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari ordered that a forensic audit be carried out on the activities of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Nigerians were yet to hear “anything even till now,” urging the president to set machinery in motion for its realisation.
This was just as the rights activist, who is also an Itsekiri leader, told Mr President that the NDDC matter was not a political issue, but human in nature as she contended that people that could actually deliver on the mandate of the commission to the suffering people of the region must be those from the oil-producing communities and who knew and were familiar with the terrain.
Lori-Ogbebor made the call while speaking with newsmen at her Surulere residence, just as she recalled that President Buhari had, before his recent foreign trip, ordered the exercise based on his own findings that trillions of naira had been invested in the Niger Delta region but nothing to show for it.
“Mr President, you ordered a forensic audit of the commission but we have not heard anything even till now. Mr President, please note that the matter on NDDC is not a political issue, it is a human issue,” she said.
According to her, contrary to carrying out the forensic audit as ordered by Mr President, the controversial list of members of the NDDC which the president “held in abeyance surfaced in the Senate.”
“About the same time, the Niger Delta Minister set up an Interim Management Committee.
“In the meantime, there are 16 cases instituted by the 16 oil-producing communities against the NDDC in various courts. You were served the court papers, the Attorney General was served, and the National Assembly was also served.
“The Senate with speed went ahead to screen and confirm the nominees of the board in your absence. The first time you travelled out of the country a similar thing was done but there was outrage across the country, you came back and stopped further actions,” Lori-Ogbebor stated.
The rights activist, while lamenting the plight of people of oil-producing communities, who she noted “have been pushed from their houses and are still leaving in the midst of degradation in the name of Nigeria,” charged President Buhari to take a decision that would protect them, declaring that “enough is enough” as they could not continue to suffer all the health hazards resulting from the destruction of their land by the oil companies.
“The oil-producing communities are domiciled by people who are living in the land of their ancestors but have been pushed from their houses and are still leaving in the midst of degradation in the name of Nigeria. They suffer all the health hazards resulting from the destruction of their land by the oil companies.
“Many people come for contract worth trillions and have no sympathy for the plight of dwellers because they do not come from there. They do not know what is happening and do not want to know.
“They have no love even for the country, otherwise they should have executed the contracts awarded to them. All political parties see the Niger Delta as a place to make money for elections. Mr President, we Mothers of the Niger Delta have buried our children, husband, sons and daughters because of health hazards,” Lori-Ogbebor lamented.
“Now we are saying enough is enough. We want you to make a decision that will protect us. We should not be made to go into the trenches after doing so much for the country. We prefer to die for this cause than to be consumed by worms. Mr President this is not a threat,” she said.
“Extracting our oil and allowing strangers to manage our affairs like this appointment of the Chairman and Managing Director of NDDC, amount to slavery,” she added.